Earlier this year, a federal judge in California, William B. Shubb, ruled against the plaintiffs, finding their claims unfounded. The American Family Association has appealed the ruling.
The Institute believes the Impressions series is wholly secular in purpose, approach, and effect; there is no showing that the exercises in question were used in a manner that would either promote or denigrate any religion; and their use does not entail excessive state entanglement with religion.
The Institute for First Amendment Studies is joined by the National Association of Laity, the American Jewish Committee, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and the Unitarian Universalist Association.
The Impressions reading series employs the whole language approach to language arts instruction. Many fundamentalists believe the whole language method is a deliberate scheme on behalf of the National Education Association to produce functional illiterates, thus creating an dependent society susceptible to a one-world government. Believing that phonics is the only correct way to learn to read, they find inventive ways to reject whole language curricula.